‘This Is Us’: Ranking 14 of the Show’s Jaw-Dropping Reveals

This Is Us Twists
Paul Drinkwater/NBC; NBC; NBC

If ever there was a show to pull more twists and turns, it’s NBC’s much-loved drama This Is Us.

Since the very beginning, the show hasn’t shied away from willingly shocking its viewers. Whether it’s revealing the Pearsons’ connections to one another or unveiling certain family secrets, This Is Us often leaves fans in awe. Despite being on air for nearly six years, Dan Fogelman‘s carefully crafted family drama always found ways to surprise.

Below, we’re breaking down some (of many) of This Is Us‘ biggest plot reveals and ranking them (to the best of our ability) by just how jaw-dropping they were.

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This Is Us - Milo Ventimiglia and Dule Hill

14. Jack's ER Encounter (Season 6)

A flashback storyline in the series’ penultimate episode follows a family that viewers have never met until this point in the show. When they wind up having a car accident, the family’s patriarch Kenny (Dulé Hill) attempts to calm his nerves over his son Marcus (Jonigan Booth) who is in surgery with a cup of coffee. While grabbing the beverage, he meets Jack, post-house fire, in the kitchen. Jack offers Kenny some words of wisdom that Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) once told him about lemons. While Jack goes on to die from his heart attack, Kenny’s son Marcus survives an intense surgery. But that’s not all as viewers learn Marcus went on to help make breakthroughs in the Alzheimer’s community, a necessary helpful and contributor in the landscape Rebecca inhabits in her later life.

This Is Us Season 2 Justin Hartley Melanie Liburd

13. Kevin & Zoe's Future Relationship (Season 2)

During Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) wedding festivities, fans are introduced to Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd). She makes quite an impression within the installment, but the shock of seeing her on a plane to Vietnam with Kevin (Justin Hartley) in a near-future flash-forward was enough to leave fans anticipating answers heading into Season 3. Ultimately, they discover the pair become deeply involved during Season 3 and search for answers about Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) time in Vietnam together.

this is us season 5 chrissy metz chris sullivan

12. Kate's Abortion (Season 5)

As part of Season 5’s Kate and Toby storyline, they explore the idea of adoption and when their potential birth mom Ellie (Annie Funke) mentions that she considered abortion before planning to give up her baby, it brings up a lot of drama for Kate. Unbeknownst to viewers, Kate had become pregnant during her relationship with scummy ex-boyfriend Marc (Austin Abrams) and decided to terminate the baby to avoid further entangling their lives. It wasn’t an easy choice and certainly not something fans necessarily saw coming.

this is us season 2 randall tess

11. Randall & Tess's First Flash-Forward (Season 2)

While Season 2’s “Super Bowl Sunday,” is best known for being Jack’s death episode, it also included one of the series’ first ever flash-forwards. Towards the installment’s final moments, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has a heart-to-heart with his daughter Tess (Eris Baker) about his love for her and paints a hopeful picture for the future. Interspersed are clips of Randall keeping his promise to visit his adult daughter at work in the far future. The reveal that she’s become involved with social work, inspired after her parents’ commitment to foster daughter Déjà (Lyric Ross) is all the more heart-warming. Plus, the ensuing mystery of their flash-forward had been a top priority for fans in seasons to follow.

this is us season 4 blake stadnik
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

10. Baby Jack Grown Up (Season 4)

Season 4’s premiere episode, “Strangers,” left fans scratching their heads through most of the hour as various new characters were introduced alongside the Pearsons. One of the big revelations though is that a blind and musical mystery man happens to be the adult version of Kate and Toby’s son Jack (Blake Stadnik). Throughout the installment we see him meet a woman named Lucy (Auden Thornton) who later becomes his wife. The realization that Jack has achieved such heights as a successful musician is sure to bring tears to anyone’s eyes knowing where he gets his inspiration from with a musical mother and grandmother.

This Is Us - Season 4 - Adelaide Kane

9. Kate & Toby's Daughter (Season 4)

As if getting a glimpse into baby Jack’s future wasn’t enough, during the Season 4 finale Kate and Toby float the idea of adoption as a means of giving their son a sibling. In another tear-worthy twist, we discover a new character who is sprinkled throughout the episode happens to be baby Jack’s sister when Hailey (Adelaide Kane) visits the hospital for the birth of his and Lucy’s daughter, Hope.

this is us season 4 rebecca randall
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

8. Rebecca's Alzheimer's Moment (Season 4)

In Season 4’s Thanksgiving entry, “So Long, Marianne,” Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) mental health comes into question, and during an outing to clear her head viewers are whisked away as she falls into a pattern of confusion. While it seems like her Alzheimer’s episode is part of the current timeline, it’s part of the near-future during the Big 3’s 40th birthday. Once returned to the family cabin on this occasion, viewers also learned that Kevin and Randall had a falling out which leaves the brothers on a non-speaking basis.

This Is Us - Season 5 - Chris Geere
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

7. Kate's Second Marriage (Season 5)

In the show’s Season 5 finale, a small time jump reveals that Kate’s getting remarried to her coworker Philip (Chris Geere). While other flash-forward moments hinted at Kate’s breakup with first husband Toby, the possibility of her being remarried wasn’t at the top of most prediction lists, especially a marriage to her then-contentious colleague. Needless to say, the cliffhanger reveal left many questions until the show returned for its final season.

This Is Us Season 5 Laurel Jennifer C. Holmes

6. Randall's Mom (Season 5)

Definitely one of the show’s more far-fetched storylines, the reveal that Randall’s birth-mother Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes) survived the overdose that William (Ron Cephas Jones) had thought killed her is no less shocking. While the pay-off comes in the form of a one-episode backstory for Randall’s biological mom, the uncertainty over her fate after the reveal is something that’s become classic in This Is Us twists.

this is us season 1 jon huertas mandy moore

5. Rebecca's Marriage to Miguel (Season 1)

We all know how swept away we were when first introduced to Jack and Rebecca in the premiere, and the seemingly perfect duo could never be stopped … right? Well, the writers didn’t wait long to reveal that the pair didn’t make it through for the long haul because when Randall’s daughters tell their father that “grandma and grandpa” are at the door, Jack’s nowhere in sight. Instead Miguel (Jon Huertas) is by her side, and the fact that he’s Jack’s friend caused an even bigger stir until clarification was given. Needless to say, the early episodes were full of whiplash twists like this one.

This Is Us Season 1 Sopie Alexandra Breckenridge

4. Kevin Picks Sophie (Season 1)

If fans can remember all the way back to Season 1, they’ll recall that Kevin was torn between two women in his life, writer Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) and sassy actress Olivia (Janet Montgomery). In a conversation with Toby during the episode “Three Sentences,” he questions who he should be with and Toby conducts an exercise, forcing the actor to shut his eyes and picture the woman he loves most in the world. When it seems like Kevin is settled on an answer, we’re waiting to see who he picked, Sloane or Olivia. Turns out it was neither. Instead, Kevin seeks out his childhood sweetheart Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), who until this episode, fans had never met.

This Is Us Season 2 Jack Rebecca

3. The Spark Behind Jack's Untimely Death (Season 2)

Once fans learned about Jack’s untimely death, the waiting game over the cause of said death began. Viewers finally got answers in Season 2’s “That’ll Be the Day,” during which Crock-Pots and slow cookers became the show’s biggest villain. While Jack didn’t perish in the fire that consumed the Pearson home on Super Bowl day, his resulting heart attack was lethal and all because of faulty kitchen equipment.

Griffin Dunne as Nicky in This Is Us - Season 3
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

2. Nicky's Alive (Season 3)

After years of telling his kids and wife that his brother Nicky (played by Michael Angarano and Griffin Dunne) died in the war, Jack’s fib came to light during Kevin’s investigative trip to Vietnam. The lack of Nicky’s name in a death database tipped him off and as viewers know, the rest is history. The resulting shock also brings on an overwhelming amount of sadness as you wonder what could have made Jack want to lie about his brother’s status in the first place. The war accident that leads to their estrangement is just as heart-wrenching.

this is us season 1 pilot jack milo ventimiglia
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

1. The Pearson Family Connection (Season 1)

Without much to go on, viewers were introduced to the characters they’ve now come to love, but nothing will beat that moment when you realize the action is set in two very different timelines. The minute a fireman offers Jack a cigarette in the hospital waiting room, the blanks are filled in as we learn the babies that he and Rebecca have go on to become Kate, Kevin, and Randall. It’s been nearly five years and we still have chills.